Regent “Raises the Curtain” on major fundraising campaign to meet COVID-19 requirements

Picton's Regent Theatre. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

Developments are ramping up quickly at the Monarch of Main Street.

A little over two months ago, the Regent Theatre gained a measure of support from municipal council so that the not-for-profit entertainment venue could adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 world by way of a grant to purchase live streaming equipment.

Then, just over a month ago , the Regent announced its first live-streamed event (without an audience) in partnership with the Mustang Drive-In. 

After a dark spring and summer where the neon lights were a missing main stay of the night summer sky in Picton, the Regent is announcing a major fundraising campaign to help the theatre meet its safety and accessibility needs prior to welcoming an audience back into the space.

“Prince Edward County’s Regent Theatre is excited to launch the “Raise the Curtain” fundraising campaign so the theatre can welcome audiences back into the physical space of the theatre after the closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in order to do that, some urgent and significant safety and accessibility upgrades are needed including; a new fire curtain, HVAC units, roof repairs, and accessibility updates to the bar/concession area, seating and exits,” said Alexandra Seay, Regent General Manager.

COVID has provided the opportunity for the theatre’s team to re-envision the physical space and programming model of the theatre. With the Municipality of Prince Edward County’s $40,000 investment, the Regent team is pursuing a new hybrid programming model. Those funds have been identified to update the theatre equipment so that live shows can be partnered with local partners such as the Mustang Drive-In and shared with patrons in their homes via live streaming.

In order to make the safety and accessibility changes, the Regent’s campaign target of $250,000 has been set so that audiences can be assured of a safe and comfortable experience in the beloved theatre which is a Prince Edward County landmark.

This is an investment in the future of the Regent.

The Regent is thrilled to announce that a $20,000 donation has already been received by two local patrons, Bob McKittrick and Elyse Graff.

“We absolutely cannot imagine Main Street without the Regent Theatre. The cultural and economic impact of the Regent Theatre to Prince Edward County cannot be overstated and we are proud to invest in the future of the Regent.” said long time Regent Theatre supporters McKittrick and Graff.

Donations can be made directly by reaching out to the CanadaHelps campaign page, or by sending a cheque to The Regent Theatre Foundation directly at 224 Main St Picton, ON K0K 2T0.

“The Regent Theatre is an iconic gathering space and entertainment venue for the residents and visitors of Prince Edward County. We know that our community misses us – we miss them too! But we also take the safety of our members, volunteers, staff, patrons and artists very seriously. With the patience and support of our community the entertainment heartbeat of the County will be stronger than ever when we re-open after this campaign.” Noted Board Chairman Benjamin Thornton.

The Regent Theatre was founded in 1918 and incorporated in 1982. Long considered the entertainment hub of Prince Edward County,  for over 100 years it has been dedicated to providing year-round cinema and live entertainment to the rural community it serves. The theatre is deeply committed to serving the community, ensuring access and engagement for all and preserving the heritage building which is a County landmark.

The Regent Theatre Foundation is a registered Canadian charity and relies on the support of sponsorships, memberships and donations. With only one full time employee, the ongoing operation of the theatre is supported by its volunteer base.